Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Riding a Bicycle - Letting Go

Below is another piece of informal writing from a student of Mount Angel Seminary, another peek into the every day activities of our seminary classrooms.  

All faculty are welcome to submit the writing of their students for publication on our journalism blog and the seminary website.  We welcome both short and long piece and formal papers and informal assignments.

This semester in Writing in the Humanities, one of the English Communications courses offered by Mount Angel Seminary, the students read the poem "Arrowood House" from the book Out of Town by Lex Runciman.  Runciman is an English professor at nearby Linfield College.

One of the students, Brother Jesus Maria Leija, OSB, offered this reflection on "Arrowood House."  A father is teaching his young daughter to ride a bicycle, and the last three stanzas read:

I can no more do this for you than fly.  I forget
how many days it took, how many times
falling was the price and the end.  I remember

an evening after dinner.  The bicycle,
as I run, as you peddle, floats free: you know,
and I let go.  You have done this for yourself.

I am unsure of how to turn or stop.
I see you balanced, upright,
one of the world's happiest children. 

In his reflection, Brother Jesus Maria writes:

My take on this poem is summed up in two words: letting go.  I could just picture the father probably holding one side of the handlebars . . . While she is pedaling faster and faster he is trying to keep up, yet in a very awkward position, he is trying to steady the bicycle with his little girl on it.  I think what is important here is that he has both hands holding his child with all his might out of love for her.


This poem isn't only about riding a bicycle but about the fact that he has a little girl and all the while she only sees herself riding a bicycle, he is feeling his heart melt inside of him.  He is very proud of her, and the more she gets going the happier the both of them become.  I could just imagine the father witnessing his daughter's whole life.  Pretty soon, like all parents, he will have to let her go and live her own life.

This letting go can be used every day of our lives . . . Life could be like this bicycle ride.

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